Protea 6714 metres, CR76.1/145
Springbok 6324 metres, CR74.0/140
Galjoen 5669 metres, CR70.3/134
Yellowwood 5234 metres, CR67.9/127
Blue Crane 4937 metres, CR66.3/120
Galjoen women, CR 76.3/142
Yellowwood women, CR73.8/137
Blue Crane women, CR71.5/132
High season, Nov 1 to March 31
Hotel guest R1155 (includes halfway house)
Low season, April 1 to Oct 31
R975; Cart hire R520
No day visitors allowed
Gary Player 1997.
Redesign by David McLay Kidd 2004
044 804 0030
Fancourt is South Africa’s premier resort experience, a major conference centre, and a winner of numerous international awards. The Garden Route region has much to offer golfing visitors, and Golf Digest voted it South Africa’s No 1 golf destination.
The resort offers guests two magnificent 18-hole courses, the Montagu and Outeniqua, which are ranked in South Africa’s Top 20. Under Covid-19 protocols, both courses are only for the use of members and hotel guests. No day visitors are permitted.
The Montagu is a visual treat from first tee to 18th green, its broad holes framed by attractive vegetation, trees and gardens, set against a backdrop of the Outeniqua mountain range.
The Montagu is the older course, many of its holes being part of a 27-hole facility when Fancourt opened in 1991. A further 9 holes were completed in 1997, when the Montagu and Outeniqua adopted separate identities.
Originally a Gary Player design the Montagu was substantially upgraded and redesigned by Scotsman David McLay Kidd in 2004. He added 430 metres to the total measurement. The work included both a new opening hole, and a new par-5 ninth hole, on different land to the original holes. It’s the only Fancourt course where the two nines return to the clubhouse.
It’s a strong championship course, famed for superb conditioning and fast-paced firm greens. The first nine has some of the most challenging par 4s, the third, sixth and seventh all in excess of 400 metres from the Protea back tees. A feature of the front nine is the river which flows sinuously through the property, arriving in front of the ninth green and departing at the fifth tee, where it enters the main Fancourt storage dam. It’s particularly in play on the sixth and seventh, two of the resort’s most memorable par 4s.
An unusual aspect at Fancourt is there being only one starting tee at the clubhouse, the first of the Outeniqua. The Montagu begins a short distance away, with its own practice putting green next to the first tee.
The Montagu had another upgrade in 2018, overseen by Gary Player, to improve playability and emphasise its traditional parkland look and feel. The bent grass greens were resurfaced, fairway landing areas increased in size, and bunkering reduced. Its water features are more visible. Bushes close to fairways where balls could be lost were removed.
Fancourt has a strong local community caddie programme, and golfers playing the Montagu or Outeniqua can either employ them to carry bags or serve as forecaddies for golfers using carts.
Fancourt has no official records, but 63 was scored on the Montagu by Andrew Curlewis in the 2009 Coca-Cola Championship, and by Santiago Tarrio Ben in 2020 DiData.
Water hazards factor strongly in the finish. The par-3 17th is a signature hole, the tee and green separated by a wide expanse of water. The uphill 18th is the shortest of the par 5s, and again has a green surrounded by water in the front and both sides. The second is possibly the most beautiful par 3 at Fancourt, played from a high tee to a green in the valley below. The seventh is an exceptional long par 4, the fairway curving sharply left around the river to a green that is partly hidden. Uniquely attractive holes on the back nine include the downhill par-5 tenth, and the dogleg left 13th.
Guests staying at Fancourt have a range of luxury accommodation to choose from. There are 113 guest rooms and suites, either in The Manor House (18 suites) or elsewhere on the estate. Its facilities include four restaurants, a spa, gym, hair salon, business centre, four swimming pools, tennis courts, a leisure centre with Kidz Club, cycling, hiking and jogging trails. There is a discount on green fees for hotel guests.
There is a full-size range with multiple bays close to the clubhouse, with a large short-game area, separate greens for putting and chipping. A separate practice facility at Bramble Hill, adjoining Fancourt Links, is home to The Academy at Fancourt, managed by Doug Wood and Garth Milne of Wanna Be A Champion Golf & Fitness Academy. The Academy at Fancourt utilises the latest technology. Val Holland is the head coach.
1/ The Fancourt Montagu has been a constant presence among South Africa’s Top 10 courses for more than 20 years, and was ranked No 1 by Golf Digest in 2001.
2/ Each tee marker represents national emblems. The Protea is the national flower, Springbok the national animal, Galjoen the national fish, Yellowwood the national tree, and Blue Crane the national bird.
3/ Pace of play is monitored by marshalls. Golfers are given four hours 30 minutes to complete a round. The halfway house is included in the green fee.
4/ Fancourt regularly hosts Sunshine Tour events, beginning with the Hall of Fame tournament in 1991. The Presidents Cup was at The Links in 2003 and Women’s World Cup in 2005.
5/ Since 2010 the resort has hosted the Dimension Data Pro-Am in February. 156 professionals and 156 amateurs play in betterball teams over all three resort courses.
6/ Fancourt once had four 18-hole courses, one a public facility Bramble Hill. It was closed for residential development and practice facilities.
7/ The Heritage Classic, last played in September 2019, has been cancelled.
2021 Morris Schiefner & Gaby Gramm
2020 Kyle de Beer & Sonja Bland
2019 Ben van Wyk & Annelie Swanepoel
Fantastic layout, but what I don't like is how much it is orientated towards a cart course. I walked the course with a trolley and found the cart path an irritation, and long walks between holes.
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